10/12/2009 03:43 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Sporty Kids Could Lead To Brainy Teens

Want your child to go to University or get a good job when they're adults? Then make them put down that homework and take them for a kick around.

Yes, get them fit and instil a love of sport and you'll be doing more than just exercising their hearts, you'll be boosting their IQ too, according to a new study this week.

It showed that young adults who are fit have a higher IQ and are more likely to go on to university, so encourage an active lifestyle now so they can hopefully reap the rewards later too.

The study, conducted by researchers in Sweden, shows teenagers especially benefit from exercise, with the strongest links found in logical thinking and verbal comprehension.

"Youngsters who improve their physical fitness between the ages of 15 and 18 increase their cognitive performance," said one of the study's researchers, Maria Åberg, at Sweden's Sahlgrenska Academy.

"This being the case, physical education is a subject that has an important place in schools, and is an absolute must if we want to do well in maths and other theoretical subjects," she added.

But it is fitness and not strength that makes the difference thanks to the extra oxygen the brain receives from those with good heart and lung capacity.

The new study, which involved 1.2million Swedish men doing military service, is not the first to show a connection between physical fitness and mental performance. This has been highlighted in previous studies on children, the elderly and animals but it is the first to show the link in young adults.

The research team studied IQ and physical tests of the men when they enrolled in the military, and compared these with results from fitness tests with socio-economic status later in life. They found the men who were fit at 18 were more likely to have gone on to higher education and to have better jobs.

It's just another reason to get them outside and running around after a ball when they're young. Hopefully, instilling a love for an active, sporty life will encourage them to continue in those all important tricky teenage years.

Source (Parentdish)